The Behavioral Interview - What You Can Expect
The Behavioral Interview is increasingly used by companies for employment selection.
Although it is a more demanding type of interview from the candidate's point of view,
it should be welcomed by candidates as an opportunity to effectively demonstrate why
they are suitable job candidates.
Why the Behavioral Interview Works
Have you ever heard an interviewer saying that they know straight away on meeting a
candidate if they are suitable or not, that they go on "gut feel" when deciding on the
right job applicant? Fortunately this sort of haphazard approach to job interviews is
seen less and less as companies take a much more structured and systematic approach to
Organizations are under increasing pressure to achieve accuracy in predicting an
applicant's job performance. The escalating costs of a hiring mistake (generally
calculated at being about 50 percent of the position's annual remuneration) and the
negative impact of the wrong person in the job on both existing employees and customers
mean that employers need an effective selection process that accurately identifies the
right person for the job.
The system used for selection also needs to be consistent to give every candidate
a fair and equal opportunity of being selected for it to be considered legally defensible.
Behavioral (sometimes referred to as Competency-Based) Interviews offer a solution to
the problem of an accurate and equitable selection system. The fairness and accuracy of
the Behavioral Interview is based on the fact that the candidate is providing real,
factual information about their past behavior and how it relates to the present required
The questions asked are designed to gain information on the candidate's ability in the
competencies that have been identified as necessary for successful job performance. All
information gathered during the Behavioral Interview is relevant to the position and
company being interviewed for. All candidates are asked the same type of questions, the
interview is standardized which makes it a fair selection process.
The Behavioral Interview Process
The job is profiled and competencies required for job performance identified. Examples
of job competencies include attention to detail, leadership, teamwork, initiative and
adaptability among many others.
Questions are prepared to elicit information on the candidate's previous experience as
it relates to these competencies. The Behavioral Interview is based on the premise that
past behavior predicts future behavior.
The candidate is asked to provide a specific example of when they previously displayed
the desired competency.
The candidate then describes a previous situation or instance when they were required
to demonstrate the competency, the actions they took and the outcome.